Convention on the Protection of the Alps (Alpine Convention)

The Alpine States signed on 7 November 1991 the Convention on the Protection of the Alps (Alpine Convention), recognizing the Alps as a common area which needs a common development and preservation policy. The Convention is a framework that sets out the basic principles of all the activities of the Alpine Convention and contains general measures for the sustainable development in the Alpine region. It entered into force on March 1995.

Objectives and approaches

The Contracting Parties shall pursue a comprehensive policy for the preservation and protection of the Alps by applying the principles of prevention, payment by the polluter (the 'polluter pays' principle) and cooperation, after careful consideration of the interests of all the Alpine States, their Alpine regions and the European Economic Community, and through the prudent and sustained use of resources.

The Contracting Parties shall agree upon Protocols laying down details for the implementation of this Convention. In the Protocols, concrete steps to be taken for the protection and sustainable development of the Alps are set out. Nevertheless, not all the Contracting Parties to the Alpine Convention are Parties to the Protocols to this Convention.

Institutional structure

The Convention sets up the following institutional structure:

  • The Alpine Conference is the political decision-making body of the Alpine Convention and consists of the Ministers of the Alpine States. Meetings of the Conference are normally held every two years by the Member State holding the Presidency of the Convention;
  • The Permanent Committee is the executive body of the Alpine Conference. It consists of the delegates of the Alpine countries. The Permanent Committee ensures that the Convention’s ideas, principles and aims are out into practice. The Permanent Committee meets generally twice a year;
  • The Compliance Committee is a body that controls if the commitments and obligations resulting from the Alpine Convention are complied with. Every four years, the Contracting parties have to present a report concerning the implementation of the Convention and its Protocols. The first report was adopted at the 10th Alpine Conference (March 2009);
  • The Permanent Secretariat supports the bodies established by the Alpine Convention. It offers a professional, logistic, administrative help and assists the countries in carrying out the actions, required by the Convention and its Protocols;
  • Working Groups may be established if they are deemed necessary for the implementation of the Convention, in view of assessments based on scientific information.
Work areas

The Convention covers the Alpine region.

Contracting Parties shall take appropriate measures in particular in the following areas:

  • Population and culture;
  • Spatial planning;
  • Prevention of air pollution;
  • Soil conservation;
  • Water management;
  • Conservation of nature and the countryside;
  • Mountain farming;
  • Mountain forests;
  • Tourism and recreation;
  • Transport,
  • Energy;
  • Waste management.